Your home doesn’t have to feel like a museum to preserve its historical significance. No one in 21st century (save a few purists) actually want to live in a home that was pristinely preserved as a 18th or 19th century time capsule. I mean, many homes of that time didn’t have indoor plumbing!
Most homeowners want a modern spin on their antique properties. They want to live comfortably and improve the efficiency of their homes. It is possible to weigh practicality against preservation. The exterior of the home should get put back the way it should be to reflect its time period and architectural style. Inside, in the US, we have a bit more leeway. It’s my feeling that any original woodwork, or special features should be preserved. But, the bathrooms and kitchens call for an updated design, and we all want more closet space.
There are “sacred” elements of a historic building like the stair rail or the ornate living room plaster crown and we should go to great lengths to keep these in-tact, but there are also elements that we can let go of. There aren’t any hard and fast rules to this balance but each building has its own set of special historic elements. You must do your research, understand what you’ve got, and adjust your project scope for the ideal balance of preservation and practical living.
We want our beloved historic homes to keep evolving with us into the future. We are their stewards. It is a delicate balance and it makes for really fun home renovation projects!